50 greatest Indie horror films

Necessity is the mother of invention, meaning small movie budgets often splurge forth utter gems. You don't need a huge slab of cash to make the best horror movies. Getting creative with a tiny amount of money can work wonders, and if you pair that with the fact that not many of these productions had corporate bigwigs breathing down their necks, you get some bizarre concepts executed flawlessly. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at what we think are the 50 best indie horror films - and be warned: most of them require a cushion to hide behind. 

My Name Is Bruce (2007)

The Indie Horror: Tongue-in-cheek geekfest in which Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell is mistaken as his most famous role - zombie-killer Ash - and must fight a real monster in Oregon. Campbell himself is behind the camera.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: They would’ve been able to pay Sam Raimi to direct.

Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead (2008)

The Indie Horror: Outrageous exploitation horror that satirises the fast food industry. Trapped inside a fast food restaurant, a group of people are targeted by zombie chickens that have been brought back to life by an Indian burial ground.

If It Had A Bigger Budget:
They could’ve forked out enough cash to get JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson to cameo.

Ravenous (1999)

The Indie Horror: Most notable for its unique score (composed by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn), this little-seen horror is a tale of cannibalism set in 1840s California.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: Original director Milco Mancevski may not have left production two weeks into shooting.

I Come With The Rain (2009)

The Indie Horror: Neo-noir chiller starring Josh Hartnett as an ex-cop who journeys to Hong Kong in order to track down a billionaire’s missing son.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: Hartnett would travel to the, uh, moon…

Satan's Little Helper (2004)

The Indie Horror: Visually inspired by Blue Velvet, this pop-hued, cultish horror is great for morbid humour and wouldn’t look out of place on your DVD shelf next your favourite ‘80s horrors.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: It would’ve received a cinematic release rather than going straight to DVD.

Murder Party (2007)

The Indie Horror: Comedy-horror about a guy who attends a Halloween ‘Murder Party’, only to find it’s a gory experiment led by a group of nutty art students.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: The costumes would’ve been up to Hollywood standards.

The Lost (2006)

The Indie Horror: Before he went on to make the atrocious I Know Who Killed Me, director Chris Siverston directed this cult hit about a teenager who kills two women at a campsite.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: The teenager would kill 20 innocent campers.

Splinter (2008)

The Indie Horror: A young couple are trapped in a petrol station with a convict who they have to co-operate with as they’re threatened by a deadly Splinter parasite that turns people into murderers.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: The Splinter would transform a lizard into a giant killer dinosaur.

End Of The Line (2007)

The Indie Horror: Canadian film in which nurse Karen (Ilona Elkin) takes the tube home, only for it to get stuck in a tunnel. As other people are murdered before her, Karen bands with other survivors to battle supernatural forces.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: It would involve a massive tube crash, like the one we just glimpsed in the Skyfall trailer .

May (2002)

The Indie Horror: A disturbing, oddly moving little horror following May Dove Canady (Angela Bettis), who’s bullied for her lazy eye. When her favourite doll is broken, she decides to create a life-size version using the best parts of those around her…

If It Had A Bigger Budget: May would decide to create guests for a whole doll’s dinner party...

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.